Tequila FACTs to celebrate Pee-Wee’s 35th anniversary of his and our memories of the “BIG Adventure”.
Film began as a remake of Disney’s 1960 film “Pollyanna”.
What the heck is that?
It’s a film about a 12-yr. Old orphan with an over-the-top positive out-look on life.
Then the “Schwinn” bike changed everything.
A writer named Paul Reuben was given a 1940s Schwinn to ride to work.
Who gave it to him?
Warner Bros. studio…and Paul loved it so much that he re-wrote the script.
Mr. Reuben took the idea from an old Oscar winning movie that centered around “Bicycle Thieves”.
Siskel & Ebert “Guilty Pleasure”
If you’re old then you know ‘em…they were the voice of movie critics.
If you’re young…it was way before the internet.
How’d critic rate the 1985 flick?
It didn’t get rated on their show.
2-yrs later, Ebert came out with the following statement:
“The movie is not just a strange little man acting goofy. Pee-wee has created a whole fairytale universe as consistent and fascinating as Alice’s Wonderland or the world of the Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is one of those movies like The Wizard of Oz, I think, that kids can look at in one state of mind while the grown-ups enjoy it on a completely different level.”
Director Tim Burton was pure LUCK.
Paul Reuben had a list of directors that he wanted…Warner Bros. decided that they wanted an up-and-coming director that was NOT on the list. Mr. Reuben was pissed and willing to walk away from the deal.
Then a friend, Shelley Duvall helped change Mr. Reuben’s mind.
Who’s Shelley Duvall may be crossing your noggin…
She stared in a lil’ movie named “The Shining”.
Actress Shelley Duvall saw a short film by Tim Burton named “Frankenweenie” and made the writer watch it.
Sure enough, Paul Reuben loved it:
“It was the biggest piece of luck early on in my career that I could have had”.
The music of Pee Wee’s bike riding adventure came a guy named Danny Elman…who was a part of the band “Oingo Boingo”.
Like director Tim Burton, this was also Mr. Elman’s first go at the big screen…and Burton worked with Elman on his film “Forbidden Zone”, so they met to kick-around ideas for Pee Wee’s tune.
After the two new comers’ meeting a tune came into Danny Elman’s head:
“I did a demo on a four track tape player, playing all the parts, and I made a cassette and sent it to him and never expected to hear from him again. But that piece of music became the main title of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and it got me the job. I was really shocked.”
This also was the beginning of a partnership for years of making music in future Tim Burton films.
Actress Elizabeth Daily played the role of “Dottie”. This cutie was more than a one-trick-pony…she has a voice over talent.
“Dottie” is also the voice of “Tommy Pickles” from “Rugrats”.
Tim Burton had to get his face in the Adventure.
Below is a clip of the director’s quick cameo.
Director Tim as an actor.
Warner Bros. round table voices saw the final film and thought it was too strange for a major roll-out of “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”.
They decided to show the movie to a small regional audience.
Regional loved it.
Then they put some advertising $$$ behind the flick for a full roll-out.
In the end, the goofy movie brought in $41 MILLION BUCKS at the box office.
SNL meets HBO…enter writer Phil Hartman.
Reuben and Hartman worked together; bringing life to Pee Wee when HBO launched the comedy show in 1981.
This led to the movie getting made in 1985.
The two writers continued working together on the series “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”.
How much was the famous bicycle worth?
If you asked Pee-Wee, he’d tell you:
“a hundred million, trillion, billion dollars”.
If you asked E-Bay in 2014, the bike sold for $36,600.
Wish you could buy the iconic bike?
You’re in luck…10 were built for the film.
So, one was sold on E-Bay and another exists in Pittsburgh’s “Carnegie Science Center”.
8 left, floating around the Earth.
The un-forgettable “Tequila” dance was NOT the first time Pee-Wee performed the funny moves…in writer Paul Reuben’s mind.
Back in the late ’70s, Mr. Reuben performed the choreographed moves on “The Gong Show”.
Even further back, the idea for the “Tequila” dance was inspired by his Dad’s old dirty joke:
“The joke was something [like] you put one thumb in your [Reubens points at his backside] and one in your mouth, and then you switch.”
“Large Marge” was almost cut out of the movie.
From Tim Burton:
“I almost cut the best thing before an audience saw it. (The scene) was a special effect and those are the first things to go.”
On IFC’s list of “25 Scariest Moments in Non-Horror Movies” history…ol’ LARGE MARGE scene ranks in at #5.
After the success of “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”, executives from CBS wanted to make a show with Pee-Wee as a CARTOON.
Paul Reuben turned it down…he wanted a live-action show.
“I was thinking about how important all those kids’ shows were to me when I was a kid, and how much I feel like they affected me, and that just seemed really exciting to me. I was really excited by the idea that doing a real kids’ show could potentially affect kids in an amazingly positive and great way.”
Again, the mind of Mr. Reuben paid-off a year later with “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”.
Only one way to END this post, TEQUILA.
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